It’s Blog Action Day 2008! This year, the focus of thousands of bloggers from around the world is on poverty.
What’s the point of bloggers (over 11,000 at the time of this posting!) all talking about poverty today? The more people talking about poverty and its related issues, the larger and larger the conversation. When lots of people start talking about something, they naturally get excited and start sharing ideas and making plans and then start taking action to make change!
So really, Blog Action Day = Action Day!
There are so many bloggers in the discussion today, and many great ideas, organizations and projects highlighted, and so much more – I really encourage you to check out the rolling list of participating blogs to read more and jump into the conversation!
Here’s what I’m thinking…
The social web is really about aggregation and redistribution. So, we should be pulling together opportunities for people to do something about poverty, both locally and on a global scale. Many groups, individuals and even platforms are working on doing this already, at least for social change in general, including poverty-related actions. Tools like SocialActions aggregate the social web of social actions for you, and then let you repurpose the results the way you want – like in a widget on your blog, on an automatic footer, etc. SocialActions still has a long way to go with how much functionality and opportunity it hopes to provide users, so check it out and see how you can participate!
We should also be pulling together and pushing out resources and information about services for people in poverty looking for help. I’ve seen this take shape in various forms, including One Economy’s Beehive websites that provide localized information and connections to services. But, I still think there is a lot more to be done that doesn’t require too much ‘new’ work, just new combinations.
What if there was a way that someone looking for a social service could use a touch screen monitor in a grocery store to locate the physical building where they could get help? Grocery stores are much more abundant and easily accessed than pretty much anything else in most cities, and using the touch screen monitor means you have much less technological experience required to use the tool. Finding the address, the specific services available, hours of operation, etc. in an easy-to-access way means that person could then get on the bus, taxi, or walk to the location without having to find one social service facility just to start the process. I love maps though, so we should add in some mapping to the process 🙂 maybe a map can show all of the locations providing the service needed and the user can pick and choose if they want.
What if there was a shared technology van for your city that would travel between homeless shelters, social service centers, and adult education facilities providing exposure and on-the-spot training to individuals on using a computer, a digital camera, navigating the web, creating an email account, etc.? This would give people facing an uphill battle to find a job and improve their financial/economic situation some basic tools to be on their way to working in an office or even just participating in the technology-heavy demands of the 21st century. One van wouldn’t need to cost that much, especially if a national organization was behind it and regulating it. I’m sure that software and hardware developers (whether it is laptops, cameras, video cameras, phones, or computer applications, etc.) out there would gladly donate machines or discount them (just think of how many people they are helping to become customers!); the vehicles could be donated or discounted or come from vehicle donation services; staffing of the vehicle could be a full-time standard hour job paid for by a grant or membership fees that are very small contributed/combined from all of the facilities who have a share of the exposure.
What do you guys think of either of those ideas? Are they doable? Do you have better ideas? I’d LOVE to hear them!